Otago Daily Times
What comes as standard?
Design & styling: ★★★★
Ride & handling: ★★★+
Safety: Not yet tested
Engine: 1.5litre fuelinjected petrol threecylinder, maximum power 88kW, maximum torque 145Nm
Transmission: Constantly variable automatic, frontwheel drive
Brakes & stability systems: Front disc and rear drum brakes, ABS, ACA, BSM, BA, EBD, TRC, VSC
Wheels & tyres: Steel rims/alloy wheels, 185/60 R15
Fuel & economy: Unleaded, 4.9 litres/ 100km, capacity 40 litres
Emissions: 114g CO2/km on combined cycle
Dimensions: Length 3940mm, width 1695mm, height 1500mm between the main analogue dials.
Rake and reach steering wheel adjustment is provisioned. Trimmed in fabric with lightly patterned cushions, the front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the drivers’ seat adjusts for height. Helped by the Yaris’s compact dimensions and pillar layout, visibility from the front of the cabin is very good.
The rear of the cabin is adequate rather than spectacular in terms of space and taller people may find themselves wishing for a shade more head and knee room.
Boot space, at 286litres, is similarly adequate and all but identical to the previous model, although the cargo area features a handy variableheight boot floor.
Hats off to Toyota for putting safety first when it comes to equipment levels on the Yaris range. Even the GX takes adaptive radar cruise control and lanekeeping assist, and its precollision and accident avoidance system includes autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection and intersection turn assist. Auto dipping headlights, a reversing camera, speed sign recognition and display are also provided, and the airbag suite includes a centre aisle airbag that deploys between the driver and front passenger in a sideon impact.
The technology suite is also substantially improved, notably through the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
While not stateoftheart in terms of functionality or graphics, the touchscreen system works well enough. Wireless connectivity is straightforward, but the provision of just one USB plugin point seems a little stingy. The sixspeaker sound system provides acceptable audio quality, and the singlezone manual airconditioning is entirely adequate, too.
While the GX is certainly well appointed for an entry level model, the premium GR model carries plenty of extra kit. Its additional items include 16inch alloys, LED headlights, blindspot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, push button start, fully digital instrument cluster, a headup display, climate control, satellite navigation and a leatherrimmed steering wheel. distance driving, the test car dispatched the openroad segment of the test route in a thoroughly competent manner. Its adaptive radar cruise control was simple to activate and effective in operation, as was the lanekeeping system. Relatively high noise levels on coarsechip surfaces and the performance and refinement limitations of a modestlypowerful engine and CVT transmission are the GX’s two openroad minuses.
Threading this new Yaris through the twists and turns of a winding tarmac backroad is also a far more rewarding experience than one might expect. It is certainly no sports car, and nor is it objectively quick, but within the limits imposed by a suspension set for ride comfort, the GX petrol car handles pretty well.
An easy and accurate responsiveness to steering inputs and an ability to maintain dynamic composure speak volumes for the quality of the TNGA platform. As well as helping make this GX Yaris surprising fun to drive briskly, this suggests the upcoming and far more potent turbo fourwheel drive Yaris GR could be a very special machine.
Last and not least, a note on economy. The petrol Yaris is rated at 4.9l/100km, compared to 3.3l/100km for the hybrid. I managed 5.3l/100km on test.